cover image Twice Around the Bases: The Thinking Fan's Inside Look at Baseball

Twice Around the Bases: The Thinking Fan's Inside Look at Baseball

Kevin Kennedy, . . Morrow, $23.95 (262pp) ISBN 978-0-06-073463-3

Kennedy has many great baseball stories. As a minor league player, he took part in two of professional baseball's longest games, including a 33-inning marathon in 1981 that featured future stars like Wade Boggs and Cal Ripken Jr. He went on to manage minor league teams for several seasons until George W. Bush hired him to run the Texas Rangers; two years later, he led the Red Sox to the playoffs. When he draws upon experiences like these, the Fox Sports analyst is a lively raconteur, telling stories that illustrate his beliefs about the sport, from the importance of the running game to the valuable role Latin American winter leagues play in developing new talent. Unfortunately, that only accounts for about half the book. The rest is rather pedestrian stuff, including several chapters detailing Kennedy's unsurprising picks for the greatest stars of his lifetime. The lack of frank discussion of baseball's steroid problem is a more substantial weakness, and ho-hum "controversies" like corked bats and spitballs are an unsatisfying replacement. Kennedy is smart and passionate about baseball, but his deliberately inoffensive style won't generate enthusiasm among fans who love a good argument as much as a great game. (On sale July 5)